Rian blasts a super winner
U-12 crown goes to Gorey
Gorey Rangers produced a stunning comeback to snatch the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-12 Division 1 title out of the hands of North End United in Ramstown on Wednesday.
Gorey Rangers 3 North End United 2
The Wexford town side looked set to claim the trophy on enemy soil after a Michael Mackey strike and a Darragh Carley penalty sent them into a 2-0 lead 15 minutes into the second-half.
However, a reshuffle that saw Rian Fitzpatrick move into the attack changed the game in Rangers' favour. The hosts, needing just a draw to claim the silverware, pulled one back when Ben Fitzpatrick crossed to the back post where substitute Lee Cushe controlled and smashed past Rory O'Brien.
The home crowd, sensing something special was about to happen, got right behind their young warriors and their support was rewarded eight minutes from time when Cormac Doyle slipped Rian Fitzpatrick in on the right and the defender-cum-attacker flashed an unstoppable shot into the top left corner of the net.
North End were left shell-shocked by the fate that had befallen them. They tried to raise their game to match a flying Gorey side but in the end Rangers clinched the title in style when Ben Fitzpatrick latched onto Callum Byrne's through ball and lofted a succulent lob over O'Brien to the net to set off wild, joyous celebrations.
Earlier, the first-half had proved to be a nervy, tight affair. Defences were definitely on top. The best, and only, decent chance of the period fell to Rangers. At corners the hosts bunched six forwards who spread out as the dead ball was delivered. On one such occasion Brian Cushe got away from his marker and headed Ben Fitzpatrick's centre narrowly over.
Clearcut chances might have been at a premium before the break but North End took less than 60 seconds after the re-start to take the lead. The goal was all about Michael Mackey's pace and strength as he broke away on the left, held off his marker and slotted past Alan Hayes to the net.
When Alan Mahoney cut inside from the left wing and was taken down in the box midway through the second-half, Darragh Carley looked to have slotted the penalty that gave North End the title. However, that wasn't counting on the unbelievable heart of Gorey Rangers who refused to give up and eventually came out on top.
Star man - Rian Fitzpatrick (Gorey Rangers): was already the best player on the pitch at right back but his move to the right side of the attack changed the game in his side's favour.
Gorey Rangers: Alan Hayes; Scott Leonard-Dixon, Aaron Kennedy, Brian Cushe (capt.), Rian Fitzpatrick; Eoin Murphy, Cormac Doyle, Corey Simpson-Brown; Ayman Allain, Callum Byrne, Ben Fitzpatrick. Subs. - Lee Cushe for Byrne (41), Thomas Wheatley for Allain (47), Liam Lynch for B. Fitzpatrick (60+4), also Damon Gannon, Ryan Boland, Conor McCarthy, Jack Curley, Darragh Fitzpatrick.
North End United: Rory O'Brien; Pierce Arthurs, Connor Foley, Darragh Carley, Barry Brown; Jake McCarthy, Jack O'Brien, Robert Flynn, Alan Mahoney; Michael Mackey, Jason Gordon (capt.). Subs. (not used) - Kuba Golawaski, Kristopher Kollins, Shane Roche.
Referee: Jason Byrne.